Home / Reviews / Nubia Z11 Mini S – Camera Review – Way above excellence

Nubia Z11 Mini S – Camera Review – Way above excellence

Nubia Z11 Mini S has an impressive camera experience. In terms of hardware, the Z11 Mini S has a 22.6 MP camera sensor at the rear and a 13.1 MP camera in the front. It has a PDAF auto focusing system on the rear. The camera is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30 FPS and it also has Electronic image stabilization for videos. I have been using the mobile for over 2 weeks now and here is impression on the camera performance.

Camera UI

The camera UI is very simple to use. It has an iPhone-like UI style, which many android phones from Chinese makers, have adopted as standard pattern. The UI has pro mode, beauty mode, video mode and a bunch of interesting modes grouped under “Camera Family”

  • Multi Exposure – Click creative photos with multiple shots exposed over each other.
  • Light Painting – Shoot trails of light to form interesting light painting.
  • Electronic aperture – Artificially emulate various aperture size in the shot. Did not find it usable.
  • Slow Shutter – Useful for night or low light shots. Did not find it useful.
  • Star Track – Click very long exposure shots to create star trails. Did not find it practically useful.
  • Video maker – Can help you make Vine style videos
  • Trajectory – Click fast-moving object with a moving trail.
  • DNG – RAW images. Really useful, if you are a professional photographer.
  • Clone Camera – To click interesting shots composing the same subject in the shot, more than once. Never got to make it work.
  • Time Lapse photography – Shoot time-lapse videos
  • Slow motion – Slo-mo videos.
  • Panorama – Panorama mode. Very fast and accurate in stictcing. Creates high quality output.
  • Macro camera – Used to focus on very close objects. Not very usable.

The UI is snappy and responsive. It can click shots in burst mode. Time between each shot is also really quick. The camera UI makes up with its excellent functionality, for its lack of unique visual identity.

Color reproduction, saturation and white balance

Color reproduction is accurate. Yellows, greens and blues are accurate, while the reds are inconsistent. Saturation is a bit on the higher side, but it does not feel artificial. The vibrant colors are an eye candy. Even under low light conditions, the color reproduction is on target. White balance is accurate under most lighting conditions. Under challenging light conditions the white balance reading is taken from the most bright area of the picture and this leads to accurate white balance.

Exposure, contrast and highlights

The exposure reading ion auto mode is fairly accurate. The allows you to compensate exposure for tweaking the brightness. Image highlights are pleasant and the auto HDR mode helps getting the highlights compensated. The shots have a great depth of contrast. Black levels are measured perfectly to give accurate contrast reading. The sensor also detects focus by contrast. At low light conditions the exposure is surprisingly accurate. Under all lighting conditions, the photos out of the Z11 Mini S has the best exposure, contrast and highlight levels.

Sharpness and details

Images out of the Z11 Mini S has exceptional sharpness and details under ample light conditions. As expected, it does develop prominent grains under low light, but as the exposure is perfect, the moment is captures with minimal blur. Zooming in on any image will still maintain a lot of details, thanks to the 23 MP sensor.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is good on the Z11 mini S. The low exposure areas and the well-lit areas in the same frame are perfectly compensated and results in a very pleasant and dynamic shot. The UI has auto HDR, which is very fast and effective. HDR images are as natural as a human eye sees the frame.

Focusing

The Z11 Mini S focusses by PDAF and CDAF mechanism. Focusing is fast and accurate under most usage and light conditions. But when you get really close to the subject, focusing struggles. At such situations, I switch to manual mode and adjust focus manually. Manual focus is assisted by peaking indicators, like in Sony Alpha series mirrorless camera. I found this to be very handy to use.

Selfies

The front facing 8 MP camera has a wide-angle of coverage. The shots clicked with it, under ample light conditions, has great details and sharp edges. Under challenging light conditions, the edges become shot, but noise is minimal and exposure is good. Under low light conditions, the shots are still good, but has some noise. Overall, selfie experience on the Z11 Mini S is good under all light conditions.

Videos

There has to be something missing. Everything on this camera cannot be perfect. So let us talk about videos. The exposure on videos is a miss under indoor and low light conditions. The footage is dark and has visual noise. Under daylight, colors are good, but highlights are not satisfactory. Dynamic range is not good. Auto adjusting the exposure is fast and smooth transition. But, electronic image stabilization (EIS) does not work. The footage is shaky and you need to have a stable hand for jerk-free shots. That is me being very picky. For casual footage, the videos are good.

I loved the time-lapse capability of mobile, but then this is where you really want that dynamic range to work. Surprisingly, the front camera can take awesome selfie videos under good light conditions.

Verdict

The mobile is priced at under Rs 20000. It is rare to find a mobile with such superior photographic capabilities in this price range. Android mobiles have evolved and the Z11 Mini S is a proof that they are rising to match the qualities of iPhone photography. Except for a few minor misses in the videos, photography experience on the Z11 Mini S is way beyond excellence.

Check out the detailed review of the ZTE Nubia Z11 Mini S.

Check out a few more sample images

About Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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